Skip to main content

Full text of "Rewrite of Meetings"

See other formats


Steve Crocker,12/29/95 10:49 PM,Re: rewrite 
Mime-Version: 1.0 
Date: Fri, 29 Dec 1995 23:49:33 -0500 
To: katiehzilker.net (Katie Hafner) 
From: crockercybercash.com (Steve Crocker) 
Subject: Re: rewrite of meetings 
Cc: crockercybercsh.com 
of meetings 
At 9:08 PM 12/29/95, Katie Hafner wrote: 
>steve: i've rewritten that meetings section. could you take a look at the 
>following? 
>thanks, 
>k. 
Katie,  
I believeBarry Wessler ws not just "one of the young program managers" 
but was, i facy program manager at ARPA/IPTO at the time. Barry 
is important iis own right in the story of the birth of the Arpanet and 
should be mentioned. He put a lot of work into the project with Larry and 
deserves more attention than he's gotten. I believe he had a strong hand 
in drafting the RFP and in evaluating the proposals. He left ARPA to go to 
Utah, where he got a PhD, and then he helped found Telenet. He's worked 
closely with Larry Roberts from then until a short time ago. 
At the graduate students conference, it was Barry, not me, who was trying 
to drum up interest in the forthcoming Arpanet. I was interested in 
artificial intelligence and program verification and had an appreciation of 
other cool things like "graphics .... novel computer architectures and 
programming lanquages," and I was not yet particularly interested in 
'computer networks at that point in time. 
I have rewritten the paragraph, keeping most of what you wanted to convey 
but rearranging quotes, etc. 
With respect to the role of the graduate students meeting in the early 
summer, the effect was diffuse and broad but also lasting. It helped 
create a sense of community across the various ARPA projects. The meeting 
later that summer and the meetings that followed from it involved the 
people at each site who were directly involved in connecting their 
computers to the net and in designing the protocols, but the graduate 
student conference in June -- as well as the annual graduate student 
conferences that followed -- touched the present and future *users* of the 
network and paved the way for all manner of collaborative efforts over the 
next two decades. 
The two meetings that summer were thus really very different in nature. 
The network working group sprang entirely from the latter meeting. I've 
rewritten that section to reflect the separate nature of the two meetings. 
My travel budget did not become an issue until Kleinrock's contract 
renewal, which I think was 1970. I modified your description to reflect 
this. 
The time from the first meeting in late summer 1968 to the first RFC in 
spring 1969 was more than a "month or so." I modified it to read "a few 
months." 
The modifications incorporated below are for your convenience; use as you 
see fit. 
Steve 
d kati ilk t (Kati Haf ) ...................................................................................... 
Printe r e z er.ne e ner 
------------------------------<page break>-----------------------------
Steve Crocker,12/29/95 10:49 PM,Re: rewrit..e..9f meetings 
2 
Bob Taylor had instituted a graduate students' version of the principal 
investigators meetings and, to keep the meetings from being dominated by 
the elders, no one over 30 was allowed to attend. This meant Taylor himself 
was barred from attending, so he sent Barry Wessler, his young program 
manager. The first meeting as a group took place in late June, at the 
Allerton House, a conference center owned by the University of Illinois. 
Steve Crocker arrived with a slightly arrogant assumption: perhaps ten 
percent of his fellow attendees would be doing interesting or important 
things, or would themselves be interesting people. To his surprise, the 
proportion turned out to be much hiqher. Almost everyone there was doing 
cool things, and Crocker immediately decided it might be fun to work at 
ARPA. A few years later, he actually did. 
Wessler spent some time at the meeting trying to interest the group in the 
forthcoming grand network project, but Crocker, like most of the other 
graduate researchers were graphics, artificial intelligence, novel computer 
architectures and programming language innovations that dominated the 
computer science research scene at the time. Nonethless, Crocker recalls, 
"the social ties forged at the meeting fostered an important sense of 
shared purpose among the young researchers working on ARPA projects across 
the country. These ties would form an important underpinning for the 
complex technical collaborations still to come." 
Later that summer, an entirely different sort of meeting also played a 
pivotal role in shaping the development of the Arpanet. Representatives 
from the four selected host sites -- UCLA, SRI, UC Santa Barbara and the 
University of Utah -- were invited to a meeting to discuss the forthcoming 
Arpanet. Several of them, including Crocker, were graduate students who 
had gotten to know each other at the meeting in June. All this group knew, 
mainly, was that the network was a plan in the works. They'd been given 
precious few details beyond that. But networking in general, and the ARPA 
experiment in particular, were hot topics. 
This meeting was, as Crocker later described it, seminal, if only because 
of the enthusiasm it generated. "We had lots of questions -- how IMPs and 
hosts would be connected, what hosts would say to each other, and what 
applications would be supported," he said. "No one had any answers, but the 
prospects seemed exciting. We found ourselves imagining all kinds of 
possibilities -- interactive graphics, cooperating processes, automatic 
data base query, electronic mail -- but no one knew where to begin." 
The participants of this latter meeting formed the corps of researchers 
devoted to working on, thinking through, and scheming about the ARPA 
network. To speed up the process of protocol development, they began 
meeting regularly. These meetings grew in size and number, and Crocker 
found himself traveling heavily. Theoretically, a computer network would 
cut down on some of the ARPA-funded travel, but by 1970 Crocker was 
traveling enough to require Kleinrock to seek a separate travel budget for 
him. 
A few months after the new group began meeting, it became clear to Crocker 
and others that they had better start accumulating notes on the 
discussions. If the meetings themselves were less than conclusive, perhaps 
the act of writing something down would help order their thoughts. Crocker 
volunteered to write the first document. He was an extremely considerate 
young man, sensitive to others. 'I remember having great fear that we would 
offend whoever the official protocol designers were." Of course, there were 
no official protocol designers, but Crocker didn't know that. He was living 
with friends at the time and worked all night on the first note, standing 
in the bathroom so as not to wake anyone in the house. He wasn't worried 
Printed for katieh@zilker.net (Katie Hafner) 
------------------------------<page break>-----------------------------
Steve Crocker, 12/29/95 10:49 PM,Re: rewrite of meetings 3 ,. 
about what he wanted to say so much as striking just the right tone. "The 
basic ground rules were that anyone could say anything and that nothing was 
official." 
Printed for katieh@zilker net (Katie Hafner) ' "3 
------------------------------<page break>-----------------------------